Member Highlight: Stephanie Harris, President of DOVIA-LA

Member Highlight: Stephanie Harris, President of DOVIA-LA

Stephanie Harris is the President of DOVIA-LA & Director, Special Programs at Union Station Homeless Services

Member Highlight first published in our April 2018 newsletter

Q: You’re the President of DOVIA-LA. What is that role like?

A: As the President of DOVIA-LA, it’s my responsibility to support our individual board members

Q: When were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and how?

A: Almost 5 years ago, while working at the Downtown Women’s Center, I was offered the opportunity to attend a DOVIA-LA meeting because we had a membership that we weren’t using. I immediately connected with the community and content of the group and never looked back!

Q: What motivated you to join the Board of Directors?

A: Joining the board was almost an impulse decision; I had never been on a board before, and it seemed like a great opportunity to build my skill set, enhance my resume, and try something new! Plus, it’s been so gratifying to help be a part of cultivating the DOVIA community.

Q: Where are you currently working and what do you want us to know about the organization?

A: I currently serve as the Director of Special Programs at Union Station Homeless Services. We are the largest provider of social services in the San Gabriel Valley, working to end homelessness and poverty for individuals and families. I oversee our volunteer & community programs department, our In-Kind department, and our Mentor Program.

Q: How did you get started managing volunteers?

A: Volunteer management is something that I fell into while working at the Hollywood Bowl Museum years ago. We utilized volunteer docents and museum attendants, and it was a crash-course in managing volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. After that, I coordinated volunteers for the Crescenta/Canada Home Tour during an internship with the Lanterman Foundation and the rest is history!

Q: What has been one of your proudest accomplishments in working with volunteers or community engagement?

A: One of my first projects upon joining Union Station was to plan and execute our annual Thanksgiving Dinner in the Park event, where we serve close to 3,000 meals and utilize 500 volunteers. I had never planned an event of this size, and was intimidated to say the least. However, the day went off without a hitch, and it was so gratifying to know I played a part in creating a special holiday experience for our neighbors in need.

Q: Do you have any tips for volunteer managers?

A: Communicate with compassion! Volunteers are there because they care, so try to keep that in mind when dealing with a high-maintenance volunteer. Connect constructive feedback to your mission so the volunteer knows that adjusting their behavior will be making a positive impact on the organization.

Q:  Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?

A: In my free time I love to write music and sing in my local gospel choir, Selah. I’ve also gotten into cooking!

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: DOVIA-LA has been such a blessing to me over the years. Not only have I learned so much from the programming, but I’ve gained lifelong friends and mentors as well! I cannot emphasize enough how much DOVIA has brought to my life, both professionally and personally.

May Membership Meeting: Let’s Talk About Conflict Resolution

May Membership Meeting: Let’s Talk About Conflict Resolution
DOVIA-LA Meeting Friday, May 18th:
Let’s Talk About Conflict Resolution
On Friday, May 18th, beginning at 9:30am, enjoy a cup of coffee and bagels while networking with other DOVIA-LA members. The meeting will begin at 10:00am and feature a discussion with Rachel Baker about Conflict Resolution.
Friday, May 18th 9:30am-12:00pm
Braille Institute, 741 North Vermont Ave, Los Angeles 90029
 About Our Presenter: Rachel Baker is a Case Manager with the California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) Restorative Practices In Communities (RPIC) team where she works with system-impacted communities, youth, and families to respond to harm and conflict outside the traditional legal system. She is an experienced trainer and facilitator leading workshops on using restorative practices to move through conflict and heal harms. She holds an M.A.Ed. in Social & Cultural Analysis of Education from Cal State Long Beach and a B.A. in Education Studies & Public Policy from Brown University. She is passionate about building community with young people and their families and fighting for educational and social justice. In her free time, she loves running long distances and spending time with her cat, Ralph.

Member Highlight: Mackenzie Cummins of Free Wheelchair Mission

Member Highlight: Mackenzie Cummins of Free Wheelchair Mission

Mackenzie Cummins

Volunteer Manager, Free Wheelchair Mission

Member Highlight February 2018

Q: Where are you currently working and what do you want us to know about the organization?

A: I am currently working for Free Wheelchair Mission. Our Founder, Don created the organization after a trip abroad where he found many individuals without the means for a mobility solution living on the ground. Using his biomedical engineering background, he developed a low-cost wheelchair designed for use in the developing world. If I could tell you one thing about Free Wheelchair Mission, it would be that we just distributed our millionth wheelchair last year, and are looking to distribute our next million in half the time!

Q: How did you get started managing volunteers?

A: I’ve always worked for nonprofit organizations, but in different capacities. At my last job, I had the opportunity to manage a regular volunteer for a brief period (I’m sure like many of you, wearing different hats within my organization!) and truly loved it. When the opportunity opened up to start managing volunteers in a larger capacity, I couldn’t wait to dig in!

Q: What has been one of your proudest accomplishments in working with volunteers or community engagement?

A: Although volunteer management is relatively new for me, I am always overjoyed to see new volunteers come in and dive right into our work. When I took on this new position, I was tasked with revamping the volunteer program at Free Wheelchair Mission, and was really given ownership to make it my own. My proudest accomplishment is that in the first quarter of managing our new program, our volunteers collectively served over 400 hours to our organization! They are the best!

Q: How were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and what do you enjoy about the group?

A: Like I mentioned, when I first took on my current role, I was relatively new to managing volunteers, as was my organization in general to strategically working with volunteers. As I was searching around for some resources, I stumbled upon DOVIA-LA and boy, am I glad I did! I was able to attend Education Day last year and it was the perfect way to start learning about Volunteer Management. I enjoy most hearing from different speakers from their respective organizations. Even though we all have different missions, I always get a creative spark listening to projects another Volunteer Managers have tried!

Q: Do you have any tips for volunteer managers?

A: I’m pretty new to this, so I don’t think I’m quite qualified to be offering any advice; I am still learning! I would say the best advice I’ve kept in the back of my mind throughout my new journey is “don’t be afraid to ask for help”, and it’s kind of a double whammy. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to ask for help from my peers and gain advice and support from them, and also to ask volunteers for their help and ask them to dig deep and help us. I’m constantly reminding myself that I am not asking for myself, but on behalf of the people we are serving!

Q:  Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?

A: I like to create, so I’m always looking for my next DIY or craft project. I like having something other than work to focus on, it helps me balance my work life and my personal life, although couldn’t we all be better at that?

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: I am very happy to have found DOVIA-LA, I’m excited to be a part of it. I am grateful for all the little nuggets of information I pick up at each meeting and look forward to collaborating with all of you in the future!

For more information about Free Wheelchair Mission, visit their website here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next DOVIA-LA Meeting March 16th

Next DOVIA-LA Meeting March 16th

PRESENTATION: Volunteer Recruitment: How to Go from Passive to Proactive Without Burning Out!
Friday, March 16th, 2018 9:30am-12:00pm
Braille Institute, 741 North Vermont Ave, Los Angeles 90029

Over the last three years, CASA of Los Angeles has increased their volunteer program from 490 to 765 committed long-term volunteers under the leadership of Camrin Christensen. Learn how they were successful in building a recruitment and outreach plan that was not only successful at bringing in volunteers but impactful towards the overall growth of the organization. Camrin will lead us in a discussion around being proactive and intentional, the importance of collaborating with volunteers and colleagues, and what challenges she experienced along the way. Attendees can expect to walk away from this training with tools and ideas to put education to action! Do not miss this!

About Our Presenter: Camrin Christensen joined CASA of Los Angeles as Volunteer Recruitment and Outreach Director in January 2015.  She is heading up the organization’s efforts to increase the number of volunteers serving as Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in the foster care system.  Part of this role includes developing partnerships with corporations and community groups, in order to increase awareness of the opportunity to become a volunteer advocate for one of the 30,000 children in the dependency system in LA County.  She looks forward to sharing information about the work of the organization and the role of the volunteer advocates in the lives of the foster children they work with.

Register Here!

Saying Thanks and Welcome to DOVIA-LA Board Members

Saying Thanks and Welcome to DOVIA-LA Board Members

This group of professionals represents outgoing and incoming Board of Directors for DOVIA-LA. We are so grateful to the outgoing members for their incredible service and commitment. The 2017 Board took their roles to the next level and set DOVIA-LA on the path to innovating the resources we bring to our community and the strategies we use to engage, recruit, and retain members. The new Board members are energized to continue the work and we are all very excited!

Join or Renew Your Membership to DOVIA-LA

Join or Renew Your Membership to DOVIA-LA

Are you ready for success in 2018?

In 2017, DOVIA-LA welcomed many new members representing diverse organizations from all over Los Angeles County and were thrilled to hear from wonderful speakers like Alex Schmider at GLAAD, Melanie Goodyear of Jericho Road Pasadena, and Katie Bradshaw of Girls on the Run, just to name a few.

If you haven’t joined or renewed your membership, now is the time to do it! Your membership includes bi-monthly professional development meetings including our upcoming meeting on January 19th about Goal Setting, a reduced rate for the annual DOVIA-LA Education Day Conference, and invaluable networking opportunities.

2017 Excellence in Volunteer Leadership Award

2017 Excellence in Volunteer Leadership Award

2017 Excellence in Volunteer Leadership Award

 

Thank you for your interest in applying for the

DOVIA-LA Excellence in Volunteer Leadership Award.

 

DOVIA-LA prides itself on providing quality professional development opportunities for volunteer managers throughout Los Angeles County. This award is designed to showcase one organization’s volunteer program that excels at all levels; those that leverage organizational support, push boundaries, do great work, and create broad impact.

 

AWARD DESCRIPTION

The organization selected for this award will be honored at the DOVIA-LA Annual Education Day on August 25, 2017 with an award and $250 towards their volunteer program.  This organization will also be featured on the DOVIA-LA website and through other social media outlets.

 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Eligible applicants must be organizations with DOVIA-LA membership in good standing.

 

APPLICATION COMPONENTS

A complete application includes two components:

  1.      A brief narrative application, which includes answering the following questions:
  •        Please provide an overview of this organization’s volunteer program (e.g., number of years the volunteer program has been established, staff responsible for volunteer services department, number of volunteers, number of service hours provided within the last year, types of volunteer programs offered, constituency the volunteers serve).
  •        Why is this organization’s volunteer program an example of excellence in volunteer leadership? What impact has been made to this organization or the community it serves as a result of this program?
  •        Describe how this organization’s leadership (e.g., board of directors, CEO or Executive Director, Department Heads) have supported or enhanced the volunteer program’s ability in meeting the mission and vision of this agency.
  • Identify one priority initiative involving volunteers this organization implemented within the last year. Describe that initiative and tell us how the organization’s leadership played a key role in development and/or implementation of this initiative

 

  1.          A letter of support from a senior staff member or CEO of the organization.

 

DEADLINE & NOTIFICATIONS

Please submit both the question responses and the letter of support by email to doviala@gmail.com.  The deadline to submit both components of the application is August 11th, 2017. The DOVIA-LA Board of Directors will review all applications and select award recipient. Applicants will be notified the following week.

 

QUESTIONS

For any questions or concerns regarding scholarship requirements or deadlines, please contact Shade Mokuolu, DOVIA-LA Vice President at smokuolu@newhorizons-sfv.org

July 2017 Member Highlight: Sarah L. Kuljian

July 2017 Member Highlight: Sarah L. Kuljian

 

Q&A with Sarah L. Kuljian

Volunteer Coordinator, Volunteer Action for Aging

Where are you currently working and how long have you been managing volunteers?

I am currently working with Volunteer Action for Aging (VAA), a program within Independence at Home, a SCAN community service. I have been working for the company for 4 ½ years, but managing volunteers for 3 ½ years as a Volunteer Coordinator. VAA serves older adults in multiple counties, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura. I am responsible for events in the LA County area. VAA offers social engagement opportunities for older adults, including community events such as art and technology classes, as well as a friendly visitor program. Volunteers are an integral part of making our program a success.

How were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and what do you enjoy about the group?

My colleague Teri Hershberg, a current DOVIA-LA board member, and former manager Colette Encalada, introduced me to DOVIA-LA. I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet many members who are professionals working in the field of volunteer management. DOVIA-LA is a great resource for networking and exchanging ideas on best practices in volunteer management. The group encompasses individuals working on a variety of important issues in our community. I am grateful for their breadth of knowledge and experience along with their openness to share what they’ve learned along the way.

Do you have any tips for volunteer managers?

Keep an open mind – try new things and be willing to succeed – but also be receptive to change. I believe that it is essential to gain an understanding of the needs of your program and your volunteers and how they work together.

Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?

I metal smith,fabricating jewelry using silver, bronze, copper and various gemstones. Making jewelry has been a love of mine for almost 30 years and it is my home away from home.

May 2017 Member Highlight: Sue Lee

May 2017 Member Highlight: Sue Lee

 

Q&A with Sue Lee

Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator, Five Acres

 

Where are you currently working and how long have you been managing volunteers?

I am currently working at Five Acres Boys and Girls Aid Society in Altadena, CA. I have been managing volunteers since January of this year!

How were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and what do you enjoy about the group?

I was introduced to DOVIA-LA through the previous Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator and our CAO, Jennifer Berger. Jennifer really encouraged me to join.

Do you have any tips for volunteer managers?

I think what really works for me is engaging with my volunteers on a personal level rather than just seeing them as someone who will be doing a job.

Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?

I love to hike and fortunately we have a trail right by us that we can walk to after work. I have gathered a few colleagues to go hiking once a week and also a group to jog/walk at the Rose Bowl. Getting outdoors really helps me keep the work/life balance while also connecting with my coworkers.

Click here to learn more about Five Acres.

5 Tips to Build Volunteer Loyalty

5 Tips to Build Volunteer Loyalty

Just because you successfully attract volunteers to your organization doesn’t mean you’ll keep them. Here are five effective tips to maintain great relationships with your volunteers by building loyalty. Read the whole article on VolunteerMatch HERE.